Julian Pratt (1948 -2018) grew up in London, and, as a young doctor in 1975, he went to rural South Africa. It was here he questioned the factors contributing to the pattern of disease and realised how the grossly unequal distribution of land for agriculture was having a devastating effect on people’s health, the consequences of poverty, malnutrition and the need for migrant labour. As a result, he became passionate about land reform and pursued this interest for the next 40 years. He researched, proposed and campaigned for a radical approach to the market economy, one which would replace private ownership of land with a system he described as stewardship.
Following his time in Africa, Julian became a GP in Sheffield, job-sharing with Rosemary, his wife, and working from new surgery premises, the UK’s first super-insulated non-residential building. Increasingly interested in systems of care, in 1993 Julian moved to the King’s Fund in London, a health policy think tank. He wrote a book, Practitioners and Practices: A Conflict of Values? (1995) and with colleagues developed a “whole systems” approach to improving healthcare which drew on complexity theory and viewed organisations as living systems.
After 2011, when he published Stewardship Economy, he focused on researching and writing the the detailed work that have formed the subsequent books. He made presentations to meetings and organised conferences on the topic with special interest groups, in academic settings and to wider audiences, gathering questions raised to inform the writing of his books. He also worked on areas of policy development. For example, in 2018 he contributed to a Liberal Democrat policy, Replacing Business Rates: Taxing Land, not Investment, and a paper for an all-party parliamentary group on land value capture.
Read Julian’s Guardian Other Lives Obituary here
Following Julian’s death in 2018, his wife Rosemary Field and daughter Eleanor Jubb, along with his brother Richard have been working to publish Julian’s writing on Stewardship. And some of Julian’s friends and fellow Land Value Tax proponents at the Henry George Society of Devon have been taking the ideas forward.